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Feature Archives

Wed Apr 19 2017 (Updated 04/20/17)
The End of Money Bail in California?
California warehouses thousands of people in jails while they await their court dates — simply because they can’t afford to post bail. Meanwhile, wealthy people can easily buy their freedom. Research shows that Black people are assigned higher bail amounts than white people accused of similar offenses. People who can’t post bail are at a higher risk of being convicted, pleading guilty (even if they’re innocent), and receiving harsher sentences. The California Money Bail Reform Act, however, will create a system that prioritizes pretrial services and prevents people from being held in jail simply because they can't make bail.
Across California, and nationally, trans people are funneled into state prisons, detention centers and county jails. While incarceration is violent and unsafe for everyone, trans people face extreme conditions while locked up, including unsafe housing, physical/emotional/sexual assault, lack of access to basic transition health care and a refusal to be recognized by chosen names and genders. SB 310 would make it possible for trans people in custody to file for a legal name and/or gender marker change on their identification documents and would ensure that they are recognized as such while incarcerated.
The staff at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, have formed the Ella Baker Workers Association, a staff union, and have selected the Communications Workers of America to serve as the EBWA’s collective bargaining representative. EBC’s management team has voluntarily recognized the formation of a union to represent its staff. Both staff and management assert that the formation of the union aligns with Ella Baker’s legacy and the organization's longstanding support for unionization, collective bargaining, and worker voice on the job.
Dejuan Hall was brutally beaten by Vallejo police officer Spencer Muniz-Bottomley on March 10, then he was charged with battery on a police officer and resisting arrest. Hall does not face any charges related to the reason police were called on him as he was not breaking any laws. His next court appearances are on Friday, April 7 and then again on Monday, April 10. Hall's trial is set for Wednesday, April 12. Advocates state, "Pretrial hearings are important to attend as lack of pre-trial court support gives the District Attorney's office leverage to intimidate innocent people into taking plea deals."
Luis Góngora Pat was a 45-year-old indigenous Mayan Mexican, an immigrant worker, and a family man who supported his wife and three children in southern Mexico. On April 7, 2016, his life was brutally taken by SFPD. Luis’s killing was at the nexis of several struggles faced by low income people of color: indigenous peoples’ struggles, housing rights, illegal evictions, immigrant rights, dignified wage labor, homelessness, racial profiling and discrimination, police brutality and utter impunity for killing Black and Brown residents. On Friday, April 7, the one year anniversary of his death, Luis’s family will march against police terror in the so-called Sanctuary City of San Francisco.
Miguel Masso was hired by the Oakland Police after leaving his job in New York City in 2007 in the wake of a torture lawsuit. After killing Alan Blueford in 2012, Masso resigned from the Oakland Police Department in late spring of 2014 in the aftermath of the lawsuit brought by the Blueford family against the City of Oakland. He quickly found another job with the Hollister Police Department in August of 2014. Now, after being pulled over by Masso on January 27, 2017, Hollister resident Earl Malanado was physically and verbally abused by Masso. Malanado believes he barely escaped with his life.
Mike Zint & JP Massar write: What does it take to get off the streets? Money? Affordable housing? Employment? Of course the answer is yes, but none of those things is the first step. The first step is stability. Stability that the housed take for granted. A lack of stability means the homeless barely survive. Figuring out how to exist with no sense of safety and security and nowhere to go, worrying about the police yet having committed no crime, takes all that someone has. Sometimes it’s too much and a short note appears in a local paper.